LETTER THIRTY-SIX

Nov 6 / 12am
A Houseparty, NY

SAL
I know I said I oughta talk more, but I’m at this party—like right now I’m at it—and I just needed to get away for a sec. My house is full of artists, and sometimes that can be a little much. My roommate, Patty, has these big art shindigs every few weeks, where she invites a bunch or real artists—proper arty artists, bunch of modern-vintage hipsters who are so goddamn hip they’re sometimes boring—to come up to our place in the Bronx and have some food and talk to each other about their work. We always play music, but no one ever dances. I wish they would though—you can’t be cool when you’re dancing. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation about someone’s work where I haven’t rolled my eyes. Sorry, that was mean. I’m being an asshole. What I meant was that, like the poets who always (and only ever) talk about poetry, the artists who always only ever talk about their art are sometimes a little hard to talk to. What I like are artists who aren’t alway out standing on street corners (or in my kitchen) holding up the latest not-even-dry-yet painting they done and shouting “Who wants it?” What I want is someone who turns to you when they see something that strikes them just, and says, “You see that over there that make me feel a certain way. That”—whatever it is, doesn’t matter—"that there, makes me feel!” Give me artists who see the world and who are swept up in it. Give me artists who are queer folk and interesting—but not interesting for the sake of it! Give me artist who are out there living and making and doing and trying to do for more than just themselves and the concept of it all! Give me artists who are alive! I don’t want artists who stand around drinking expensive red wine and talking about their work. Lord spare me from these artists.
In preparation for tonight we moved the kitchen table against the wall, and put out every plate and dish we own, each covered in all kinds of food. There's a cart with wheels rolling around in the kitchen too. It’s covered in a hundred bottles of wine and other stuff to drink. There’s also pots of food on the stove, and more trays on the counters with of cakes and crackers and crudité and meat and everything. Patty is a good cook, and I appreciate that she goes to all this effort. I never really put in much work, except for buying a bottle of wine and helping to rearrange the furniture in the house to make room for all the artists. Every chair we own needs to be brought down and set up, so that there are a bunch of little seating grottos all over the house. I also always put away all the dishes when the party is done. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be creepin round the kitchen while the rest of the house is still asleep, putting back all our dishes. I do that for Patty. I think when you host a party you deserve to wake up to a clean house. Shouldn’t have to work more after you already worked so hard.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the artists! I tried talking! I did! Honest! I made the mistake though of saying I’m a writer. First rule of being a writer: Never tell no one you’re a writer! They either ask what you write, or they think you’re a liar—or, worst of all, they start telling you about their writing! I’m just having a beer, trying to have fun in a houseful of artists who aren’t dancing, and I don’t want to know about your novel. Same is true for when I go to bars. When I’m at a bar and some old guy starts talkin to me—because as you know it’s always old guys; cute young girls are never looking for assholes like us—I never say I’m a writer or a liberal. It’s always, withoutadoubt a mistake if I do.
I keep going off track, dammit! I’m blaming the beer and that I’m trying to write this real quick, before anyone notices that I’m gone. I’m supposed to be being social tonight, so I can’t let them notice that I snuck off. What am I trying to say?—Goddamn, now I’ve lost my train of thought! Shit! Gone. I ought to sneak back anyway. They’ll have noticed that I gone, and most them already think I’m the antisocial ass, so… Artists. There are some cute girls here, and I'm all spiffed-up (grease in my hair, black-on-black everything, the New York standard)—and that’s why we go to parties right? To meet girls? To meet people? To not be so alone? But what I wouldn't give right now for a nice girl who studies business or economics—no, geology! Give me a nice girl who studies geology, and who doesn’t have strong opinions on Damien Hirst! I'd marry her on the spot! I swear I lose a year off my life whenever someone mentions Damien Hirst, and the rate of this party I won’t live past 27. Lord spare me from these artists!

Henry